Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC)

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Comments on the Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things

The Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.) is a registered national arts service organization of 850 members, 175 professional songwriters, dedicated to educating, assisting and representing Canadian songwriters. An association run by accomplished and active music creators, the S.A.C. is committed to the development and recognition of Canadian songwriters by pursuing the right to benefit from and receive fair remuneration for the use of their works, the advancement of the craft and enterprise of songwriting through educational programs, networking opportunities, dissemination of business knowledge and other services.

Canadian creators are under threat. Digital disruption, safe harbours for dominant digital services, and overreaching exemptions, have all contributed to an environment that can only be described as precarious. In an increasingly global marketplace, the dominance of American controlled streaming companies further exacerbates the problem due to lack of Canadian discoverability, and the absence of investment towards the creation of domestic content. The government’s recent Yale reportFootnote 1, in addition to the EU copyright directive and the recent DCMS reportFootnote 2 by the UK government all provide solutions critical to creator sustainability, and a much-needed return to a more balanced digital marketplace, one that is sustainable for creators in Canada and globally.

Copyright is not an abstraction for us. It is not merely the work product of policy experts or the musings of law professors. It is also not a mechanism to punish consumers. Copyright is quite simply our currency, our lifeblood, our ability to feed our families, and to pay our taxes. It is our survival.

We are writing this letter to restate, unequivocally, the underlying principles and established legal doctrines should continue to apply with respect to copyright in AI-generated works.Footnote 3 S.A.C. supports the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) submission to maintain the objectives of the Copyright Act in any discussion of AI, that is, to foster human creativity and provide authors with a just reward for their creation. S.A.C. supports the analysis and further recommendations contained in the Brief of The Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (CDCE) and the Consultation on a Modern Copyright Framework for Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things submitted today.   In addition, S.A.C. is aligned with organizations representing Canada’s music creators with known submissions today, the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC) and Music Publishers Canada (MPC), and appreciate these submissions are being equally considered as they highlight and reinforce the role Canadian music creators play in the music industry, and in appreciation of the weight and value of our authorship.

We look forward to continued discussions with the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Department of Innovation, Science and Industry, and to working together to create an equitable and sustainable music ecosystem in Canada.